'Overwatch' Christmas Comic: How Tracer transformed from sex object to LGBTQ icon

Source: Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch snuck some big news into its Christmas comic, "Reflections," on Tuesday, revealing Tracer is in a same-sex relationship. 

The announcement doesn't come as a huge surprise — Blizzard has long hinted that some Overwatch characters identify as LGBTQ — but picking Tracer is a particularly interesting choice considering her controversial history as an unwitting sex symbol in the game.

Overwatch's Tracer: The butt-pose controversy

Tracer has been a key Overwatch character since the game was first unveiled. She played an important role in the original cinematic trailer. It wasn't until the infamous butt pose that her sexuality was really called into question, with Blizzard seemingly trying to bank on sex appeal to pull in a traditional audience of straight male gamers.

An update to the game in March 2016 added a new stance for Tracer called "Over the Shoulder," which displayed her butt prominently in a pair of tight, bright yellow pants, backside framed by some sort of harness. The pose immediately drew plenty of criticism, along with a backlash against that criticism, but, eventually, Blizzard agreed to remove the stance. 

In a public statement, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan admitted his team wasn't "entirely happy with the original pose." He promised Blizzard would replace it with a pose that "speaks more to the character of Tracer."

Unfortunately, Tracer's replacement pose wasn't much of an improvement. The angle was slightly different, but her butt was still on display in detail. The damage was done: Tracer had become a sex icon for all the wrong reasons.

Overwatch Tracer: Redemption

It took almost the entire year, but Blizzard may have finally found a way to right its wrong. By revealing Tracer as the game's first LGBTQ character, the company may have redeemed itself. Instead of a sex symbol for straight male gamers, Tracer can become a symbol for the lesbian and queer community to rally around. 

The decision to announce the news in a heartwarming Christmas comic only makes the entire thing more satisfying for long-time Tracer fans who were disappointed by the company's decisions earlier this year.

In a statement provided to Kotaku, Blizzard said that "from the very beginning of [its] work on Tracer's story, it just felt right to make this an aspect of her character." 

To be fair, the assertion that her sexuality was an integral part of her character from the beginning is a bit suspect — especially given her earlier sexualization for a presumed straight, male audience — it's nice to see Blizzard make this aspect of her character official.

Blizzard has already said that multiple Overwatch characters are LGBTQ, so this almost definitely won't be the last reveal of this nature. But considering Tracer's history, we doubt any similar announcements will be quite as satisfying.

More Overwatch news, update, tips and tricks

For more on Overwatch, read Blizzard's response to the outcry over Mei's winter skin, read up on the latest rumors of a Terry Crews-voiced Overwatch character, check out all the updates in patch 2.01, read the fandom's reactions to that Zenyatta Nutcracker skin, uncover the hidden details in the Winter Wonderland event and check out all the other unlockable goodies you can earn for Overwatch's other characters.

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Jacob Kleinman

Jacob is the editor of Multiplayer, Mic's gaming channel. He can be reached at jkleinman@mic.com.

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